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Tour Leader Jessice de Grier

In this new series, get to know the people who will be leading you across Latin America on our Group Tours.

Which tour do you lead?

The Alcion: Central America Discovery group tour which travels from Panama to Guatemala as well as the Eagle: Aztecs, Mayas and Conquistadores, Weaverbird: Spirit of Colombia, Albatross: Ecuador's Highland and Galápagos and Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America.

When did you join Journey Latin America

4 years ago

When was your first visit to Latin America?

I travelled to Latin America about 20 years ago starting in Peru doing a few jungle tours and walking the Inca trail. I’ve since led tours for a few other travel companies in Bolivia and Ecuador before heading to Central America in 2002 where I’ve been based ever since.

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What’s your favourite place in Latin America?

That’s a difficult question. I live in Mexico City, as it’s safe, the healthcare is good and it’s a beautiful country with great weather. I’m also a bit of a foodie and the city has so many different markets and restaurants offering the best of Mexican food. But each country is so different and special, it’s hard to say I have a single favourite.

What makes Latin America special?

There’s so much variety in all aspects; landscapes, culture, history, cuisine and the wildlife is incredible!

Where would you say has changed the most in Latin America?

Central America is now easier to travel to, the infrastructure is improving. We’ve seen an increase to in the number of backpackers and once that happens we get more shuttle busses and things progress from there. Border crossings are also easier to do, whereas in the past it could have taken hours.

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You’ve been travelling in Latin America for so long, you must have so many memorable stories?

I do have some incredible memories across the continent but I’m really into wildlife and the most memorable experience I’ve had so far would be in Costa Rica when we went to visit the turtles nesting on the beach. Seeing that cycle of the mother turtle returning to her birth place to give birth was incredible, it was an emotional moment.

What would you say are the benefits of travelling with a group?

Sharing your experiences with other people always makes them more special and then there’s also the practical side, such as looking after each other but it also makes the whole journey more special. At the end of the tour when I’m on my own and I’ve seen something amazing it’s not the same without having the group to share it with.

Where’s your favourite place to eat?

The market in Oaxaca. If you love food that’s the place to go! They sell all sorts of things from fried crickets to the hottest chillies.

What question do you get asked the most?

There are a few, but “can you drink the tap water” is definitely one of them. Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot. We now have the Water 2 Go bottles which has made it safer to drink water from any source.

A question we’re often asked in the office is, is Latin America safe?

Yes I think it’s perfectly safe. It’s all about using your common sense, if you feel something isn’t quite right then you should follow your gut and move away from the situation. On my tours I will always mention an area which I don’t think it’s wise to go but that’s maybe once throughout the whole three weeks of the tour. There’s hardly any chance for anything to go wrong, we joke that there’s more of a chance of tripping on the pavement than finding yourself in trouble.

Join Jessica on our Alcion: Central America Discovery, Eagle: Aztecs, Mayas and Conquistadores, Weaverbird: Spirit of Colombia, Albatross: Ecuador's Highland and Galápagos and Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America group tours.

Tailor-made holidays

Flexible, custom-made holidays to Latin America created to match your exact requirements: our tailor-made itineraries are as unique as the clients for whom they are designed.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Millie
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

  • Hannah
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

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